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Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2011;66(9):1523-9.

Impaired hemodynamic response to mental stress in subjects with prehypertension is improved after a single bout of maximal dynamic exercise.

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Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Postgraduate Program in Cardiovascular Sciences, Fluminense Federal University, Niteroi, RJ, Brazil.



High blood pressure during mental stress in subjects with prehypertension is associated with blunted vasodilation in skeletal muscles, which might be improved by an acute bout of exercise.


To investigate the hemodynamic responses to mental stress before and after a bout of exercise in subjects with prehypertension.


Eighteen subjects with prehypertension and 16 with normotension underwent a mental stress test before and after a maximal cardiopulmonary exercise test on a treadmill. Blood pressure was measured by auscultation, and forearm blood flow was measured by venous occlusion plethysmography; from these measurements, the vascular conductance was calculated.


Subjects with prehypertension had a higher mean blood pressure during mental stress (prehypertension 112 ± 2 vs. normotension 101 ± 3 mm Hg, p<0.05), and their vascular conductance did not increase (baseline 0.025 ± 0.004 vs. mental stress 0.022 ± 0.003 a.u., p.0.05). After the exercise bout, the mean blood pressure during mental stress was lower in subjects with prehypertension (before exercise 112 ± 2 vs. after exercise 107 ± 2 mm Hg, p<0.05), and vascular conductance increased (baseline 0.011 ± 0.001 vs. mental stress 0.024 ± 0.004 a.u., p<0.05).


Subjects with prehypertension had elevated blood pressure and a blunted vasodilator response during mental stress, but their blood pressure was attenuated and their vasodilator response was normalized after a single bout of maximal dynamic exercise.

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